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15 hours ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

ILLICIT ran on TCM not too long ago (during SUTS?) and I couldn’t make it through. Very tinny sound, bad print, And some very static stagey and bad direction. The camera barely moves throughout the whole thing and the actors hang out directly underneath the boom mic for most of it.

Probably my least favorite Stanwyck film for all of the above reasons.....Very boring.

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Safe in Hell (1931) - Pre-Code melodrama from First National and director William Wellman. Dorothy Mackail stars as Gilda, a New Orleans prostitute who accidentally kills an abusive john. Her sailor boyfriend Carl (Donald Cook), who had been unaware of what she'd been up to while he was at sea, decides to stow her away on his ship and takes her to a remote island to hide out from the law. After he heads back out to sea, Gilda tries to adjust to her new surroundings, staying in a hotel frequented by crooks, outcasts and drunks. Also featuring Ralf Harolde, John Wray, Ivan F. Simpson, Charles Middleton, Victor Varconi, Morgan Wallace, Nina Mae McKinney, Clarence Muse, Noble Johnson, and Gustav von Seyffertitz.

I'm not too familiar with Mackail, who was a major star in the 1920's. Looking over her filmography, I've only seen Love Affair (1932) opposite Bogart, and I don't recall much of that one. I was impressed by her here. She shows strength without being off-putting, and she's pretty but not gorgeous, more earthy and world-weary. The movie's plot hinges on some far-fetched coincidences, and the end-game gambit seems a bit over the top, but Wellman's direction is good, the supporting actors are good, and the final shot is memorable.   (7/10)

Source: FilmStruck

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The Unholy Garden (1931) - Light crime caper romance from United Artists, Samuel Goldwyn and director George Fitzmaurice. Charming fugitive Barrington Hunt (Ronald Colman) hides out in a remote North African hotel that caters to crooks, refugees, and others who don't want to be found. When Hunt and a gang of thieves realize that the old blind man (Tully Marshall) upstairs is a bank embezzler who reportedly has millions stashed away, Hunt begins to seduce the man's daughter (Fay Wray) to find the fortune's location. Also featuring Warren Hymer, Estelle Taylor, Lawrence Grant, Ullrich Haupt, Henry Armetta, and Mischa Auer.

I enjoyed this uneven mash-up of sinister crime drama and light romance. The shifting tone may be hard to take for some, but I liked the unpredictability of it. Colman is his suave, slightly smirking self, and Warren Hymer is funny, playing a lunkhead once again.    (7/10)

I love this poster. What is going on with Fay Wray's eyes? 

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1 hour ago, LornaHansonForbes said:

It’s ANNIE OAKLEY for me, but yeah- ILLICIT is a close second.

My post to this seems to have disappeared. I must've forgot to submit it. Oddly, I've never seen Annie Oakley for some reason. There are only a handful of Babs' films I havent seen (most of them from the 50s)...

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The Man Who Played God (1932) - Melodrama from Warner Brothers and director John G. Adolfi. George Arliss stars as Montgomery Royle, a world-famous concert pianist. He's finishing up a lengthy European tour, and looking forward to returning to the U.S. to marry Grace (Bette Davis), a much younger admirer, when he is suddenly struck deaf. Sinking into a deep depression, he eventually finds consolation when he eavesdrops, via binoculars and lip-reading, on the people in the park below his high-rise apartment. He soon starts helping out those in need, acting as an anonymous benefactor. Also featuring Violet Heming, Louise Closser Hale, Andre Luguet, Donald Cook, Ivan F. Simpson, Oscar Apfel, Hedda Hopper, Paul Porcasi, and Ray Milland.

This movie is notable for a few reasons. Bette Davis stated that she was ready to quit movies and move back to NY and the stage when George Arliss personally requested her for this film. She agreed, and studio boss Jack Warner was impressed enough to sign her to a contract, thus setting her on her way to becoming arguably that studio's greatest classic-era actress. Arliss had already appeared in the 1922 version, and this sound remake became a modest hit. Warners also touted it as an example of high class and moral righteousness in an attempt to rebut the censorship efforts of the Hays Office. Of course, the Production Code came into being anyway two years later. And finally, bad movie fans may recognize the plot as being the same as the 1955 "classic" Sincerely Yours starring noted thespian Liberace.

As for the quality of this movie, I enjoyed it for what it is. Arliss is a distinct screen personality, very much like a specter from an age long since past, but here he manages to be a little more human. He was too old (in his mid 60s) for the part by this point, a fact that he himself made note of, but he still manages to be sympathetic rather than lecherous in his romantic scenes. Davis displays the qualities that made her so revered in the years to come. And I enjoyed the brief, uncredited bit by a very young Ray Milland as an embezzler.   (7/10)

Source: Amazon video

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11 minutes ago, Hibi said:

My post to this seems to have disappeared. I must've forgot to submit it. Oddly, I've never seen Annie Oakley for some reason. There are only a handful of Babs' films I havent seen (most of them from the 50s)...

Re: ANNIE OAKLEY (1935)

You would totally think, Brooklyn accent aside, that Stanwyck would be able to nail a role as juicy as Annie Oakley, but no. She was painfully restrained throughout the entire thing and I can only blame it on director George Stevens...Who seems to atone for his mistake by allowing his future leading ladies Jean Arthur and Shelley Winters to go hogwild in their parts.

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1 hour ago, Hibi said:

My post to this seems to have disappeared. I must've forgot to submit it. Oddly, I've never seen Annie Oakley for some reason. There are only a handful of Babs' films I havent seen (most of them from the 50s)...

I haven't seen Annie Oakley either.  I think it's because I was so turned off by Annie Get Your Gun that it makes me reluctant to see Annie Oakley ever again.  Though I imagine that Barbara Stanwyck's version isn't a musical.  Betty Hutton just annoys me to no end.  I've tried watching Annie Get Your Gun multiple times and I just can't get through it. 

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2 minutes ago, Hibi said:

I'm just not a fan of westerns. And  Stanwyck's 50s films are mostly westerns. This one too.

I'm not really a fan of Westerns either.  I only really make an exception for Errol Flynn's.  Lol.

Occasionally, I'll watch a Western if I like the cast or if the story sounds interesting or if it's a famous film.  I have High Noon recorded, but haven't watched it yet.  I'm not normally a huge Gary Cooper fan, but I've always wanted to see High Noon because it's such a famous film. 

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No Man of Her Own (1932) - Crooks and romance from Paramount Pictures and director Wesley Ruggles. Con-man and card cheat Babe Stewart (Clark Gable) runs afoul of the law in NYC, and decides to hide out in a small town until the heat dies down. He falls for librarian Connie (Carole Lombard), but keeps his trade a secret, which proves difficult when crime partner and occasional lover Kay (Dorothy Mackail) tries to break things up. Also featuring Grant Mitchell, Elizabeth Patterson, George Barbier, J. Farrell MacDonald, Tommy Conlon, Paul Ellis, and Charley Grapewin.

Gable and Lombard act together for the first and only time, several years before becoming a real-life couple. They have undeniable chemistry, and this makes one wish they'd done more screen work together. Mackail is good in support as the scheming, heartbroken Kay. Grant Mitchell is notably amusing as one of Babe's fellow con-men.   (7/10)

Source: Universal DVD, featuring an introduction by Robert Osborne.

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Ever in My Heart (1933) - Melodrama from Warner Brothers and director Archie Mayo. Barbara Stanwyck stars as Mary Archer, a nice smalltown girl who falls for German immigrant Hugo (Otto Kruger). They are soon married, and Hugo gets a job as a science professor at a local university while also becoming an American citizen. Their hopes for a nice, quiet life together are shattered when WW1 breaks out and they are faced with anti-German sentiment from their former friends and neighbors. Also featuring Ralph Bellamy, Ruth Donnelly, Laura Hope Crews, Frank Albertson, Ronnie Cosby, Clara Blandick, Willard Robertson, Nella Walker, Harry Beresford, Virginia Howell, Frank Reicher, and Elizabeth Patterson.

The subject of unjust treatment of German immigrants during this period is a subject rarely mentioned, and I appreciated the attempt here, however facile. Stanwyck and Kruger are both excellent. The last stretch of the film is a bit much, but it still works as effective Hollywood tearjerker manipulation.    (7/10)

Source: TCM

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Face in the Sky (1933) - Romantic comedy from Fox and director Harry Lachman. Joe Buck (Spencer Tracy) and Lucky (Stuart Erwin) are traveling sign painters who convince farmers to let them paint advertisements on their barns. They run into trouble when farmer's daughter Madge (Marian Nixon) runs away from home to travel with them, and Joe falls for the girl. Also featuring Sam Hardy, Sarah Padden, Russell Simpson, and Lila Lee.

This is one of a dozen or so minor pictures Tracy appeared in at Fox in the early part of his career, most of which have disappeared into obscurity. He once again plays a motor-mouthed braggart with a heart of gold, a familiar part for him at this point. Erwin plays a dull-witted stooge, while Nixon is cute as the sweet but simple Madge. This isn't the kind of picture to stick in one's memory for long, but I've seen much worse.   (6/10)

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The Mantrap (1943)

A light hearted "B" mystery from Republic, distinguished by the fact that it casts Henry Stephenson, a veteran Hollywood character actor in scores of movies, in the lead role for a change. He plays Sir Humphrey Quilp, a retired head of Scotland Yard (and author of the 30 volume A Modern Handbook of Crime) who, on his 70th birthday, is humoured by a NYC district attorney when he is asked to help solve a murder. Naturally Sir Humphrey is delighted at the opportunity to use his analytical skills in solving a crime once again.

Adding to the story interest is Quilp's Sherlock Holmesian deductive reasoning processes, as opposed to the new fangled techniques used by modern detectives. In fact, Sir Humphrey was once a pupil of Holmes who, he says, saved his life on one occasion. The American investigators already think they know who the killer is but think it might be nice, as a gesture to an old timer, to allow Sir Humphrey to "solve" the case. Needless to say, much to the increasing exasperation of the Yank D.A., Quilp will come to a different conclusion from his own as to who is the murderer.

Assisting Stephenson is another familiar character face for old film fans, pudgy Lloyd Corrigan, in a bushy moustache as Anatol Duprex, Sir Humphrey's doctor and friend. Corrigan is very much playing a variation on Dr. Watson here, constantly concerned about Quilp's heart and blood pressure. They travel around in an electric car together and are bee keepers on the side. The bees will, in fact, play a significant role in the story line.

The supporting cast, comprised of Joseph Allen Jr. as a young police investigator and Dorothy Lovett as Quilp's niece, while little known to modern viewers, are both reasonably effective in their roles.

The emphasis of The Mantrap is upon its light hearted air, and the character lead performances rather than the mystery elements and at one point the plot really starts to stretch credulity when Sir Humphrey helps hide a man sought by the police because he believes him to be innocent of the crime. Difficult to believe that an old Scotland Yard man would break the law by doing such a thing.

Nevertheless, this amiable affair, running a scant 55 minutes (at least the print I saw of it), is an enjoyable time waster. It's fun to see Henry Stephenson making the most of it in what may have been his one opportunity in a lengthy film career at playing the lead role.

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2.5 out of 4

 

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1 hour ago, LawrenceA said:

Face in the Sky (1933)

 

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Just by coincidence, Lawrence, I saw this film last week for the first time. I agree that it's a minor effort, with Tracy during his tough guy Fox period as a gabby sign painter roaming the countryside with dim wit partner Stu Erwin. Primarily of interest for Tracy fans.

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Parachute Jumper (1933) - Dopey drama (?) from Warner Brothers and director Alfred E. Green. Bill (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and Toodles (Frank McHugh) are aviator pals who, after leaving the service, have trouble finding work thanks to the Depression. Bill meets equally jobless gal Alabama (Bette Davis), and then they're three looking for work. When Bill gets a job as chauffeur for wealthy bootlegger Weber (Leo Carillo), things get complicated for everyone. Also featuring Claire Dodd, Harold Huber, Thomas E. Jackson, Nat Pendleton, Leon Ames, Franklin Pangborn, and Walter Brennan.

This was regarded by both Fairbanks and Davis as one of, if not their worst movies that they ever made. Maybe my expectations were appropriately lowered, as I didn't think it was that awful, but it still isn't very good, either. The filmmakers didn't seem to figure out what kind of movie they were making, and the scenes just don't gel together that well. Davis isn't done any favors with her southern accent and bad dialogue. There are a few amusing moments, and Fairbanks and Davis do seem to be trying their best, but there's just not much there to work with.   (5/10)

Parachute-jumper-movie-poster-1933-10104

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12 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Ever in My Heart (1933) - Melodrama from Warner Brothers and director Archie Mayo. Barbara Stanwyck stars as Mary Archer, a nice smalltown girl who falls for German immigrant Hugo (Otto Kruger). ...

The subject of unjust treatment of German immigrants during this period is a subject rarely mentioned, and I appreciated the attempt here, however facile. Stanwyck and Kruger are both excellent. The last stretch of the film is a bit much, but it still works as effective Hollywood tearjerker manipulation.    (7/10)

Source: TCM

 

I saw this the last time it aired on TCM (I think) and it was one of those cases where I was stunned by how timely and prescient a film from over eighty years ago could be with regard to Xenophobia, mass hysteria and "otherism."

While it's got some weaknesses (Archie Mayo really wasn't a particularly good director), it's the reason I love classic films- we tend to think the problems of today are unique to our times, but then you see something like this and realize that we've been dealing with the same bull**** for a long, long time, it just gets new packaging every so often.

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10 hours ago, LawrenceA said:

Parachute Jumper (1933) - Dopey drama (?) from Warner Brothers and director Alfred E. Green. Bill (Douglas Fairbanks Jr.) and Toodles (Frank McHugh) are aviator pals who, after leaving the service, have trouble finding work thanks to the Depression. Bill meets equally jobless gal Alabama (Bette Davis), and then they're three looking for work. When Bill gets a job as chauffeur for wealthy bootlegger Weber (Leo Carillo), things get complicated for everyone. Also featuring Claire Dodd, Harold Huber, Thomas E. Jackson, Nat Pendleton, Leon Ames, Franklin Pangborn, and Walter Brennan.

This was regarded by both Fairbanks and Davis as one of, if not their worst movies that they ever made. Maybe my expectations were appropriately lowered, as I didn't think it was that awful, but it still isn't very good, either. The filmmakers didn't seem to figure out what kind of movie they were making, and the scenes just don't gel together that well. Davis isn't done any favors with her southern accent and bad dialogue. There are a few amusing moments, and Fairbanks and Davis do seem to be trying their best, but there's just not much there to work with.   (5/10)

Parachute-jumper-movie-poster-1933-10104

Does anyone do any parachute jumping in the film??

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